Bill Buckner, a star hitter who became known for making one of the most infamous plays in major league history, has died.
He was 69.
Buckner’s family said in a statement that he died Monday after a long battle with dementia.
“After battling the disease of Lewy Body Dementia, Bill Buckner passed away early the morning of May 27th surrounded by his family,” the family said, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap. “Bill fought with courage and grit as he did all things in life.
“Our hearts are broken but we are at peace knowing he is in the arms of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Bill Buckner passed away early the morning of May 27th surrounded by his family. Bill fought with courage and grit as he did all things in life. Our hearts are broken but we are at peace knowing he is in the arms of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Bill was 69.
— Jeremy Schaap (@JeremySchaap) May 27, 2019
Buckner won an NL batting title with the Chicago Cubs, hitting .324 in 1980.
He was an All-Star in 1981 and had 2,715 hits in a 22-year career.
But it was a little groundball in the 1986 World Series that forever changed his legacy.
Trying for their first crown since 1918, the Boston Red Sox led the New York Mets 5-3 going into the bottom of the 10th inning in Game 6 at Shea Stadium.
The Mets tied it with two outs, then Mookie Wilson hit a trickler up the first base that rolled through Buckner’s legs, an error that let Ray Knight rush home from second base with the winning run.
The Red Sox lost 8-5 in Game 7, and their World Series drought continued until they won the championship in 2004.
While Buckner was vilified in Boston for the blunder, he handled the sometimes vicious criticism with grace and humor.
Many have pointed out the blame heaped on his shoulders wasn’t fair.
“Red Sox fans cried ‘Curse of the Bambino’ — the punishment Boston supposedly merited for selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1919 — but the focus of the curse that season was Buckner,” sportswriter Allen Barra wrote in 2011. “Yet Buckner did not put the tying runs on base. He didn’t throw the wild pitch that made it 5-5. He did not make the decision to keep his defensive replacement on the bench. Had he made the play, the Red Sox could have lost the game anyway.”
The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.
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